You gotta get ‘em while they’re young.
A rumbling is beginning among feminists to try to get their ideology put to use in the classroom. In an article on Pandagon, the liberal blog that gave rise to Ezra Klein, a feminist mom calling herself “Glosswitch” brought up the issue:
“When I think of the blind faith in gender that surrounds [her son], I’m not feeling so comfortable. It’s not just that the stereotypes are limiting on an individual basis. They are everywhere and they embed, ever so gradually, the sense that is natural for women and girls to be decorative, whereas men and boys are the active ones. This isn’t what I want my son to learn at school, a place that should be opening his mind, not closing it.”
Her outrage began because her son learned a song called “Jesus is my superhero,” which featured verses about how Jesus was better than Superman, Spiderman, Batman, etc. Glosswitch became upset when the only woman mentioned in the song was Barbie.
“Barbie? That’s right, He’s better than Barbie, the only woman of the lot. Not only is Barbie’s superhero status tenuous to begin with, but her superhero action is brushing her hair. I’ve nothing against hair-brushing, but seriously: flying through the air, catching villains in enormous spider webs — those are superhero powers. But hair-brushing? What kind of sexist nonsense is this? Should they really be teaching this in schools?”
Maybe — just thinking outside the box here — she should be proud of the song for not including women because maybe the songwriter didn’t think Jesus was better than many women?
She then spoke with other parents, who pointed out other “stereotyping” occurring in the school:
“[P]rincess and pirate weeks; ‘tidying up’ as a reward for girls while boys get to play sport; football days for boys and cooking days for girls (‘but they love it,’ apparently); gendered icing colours in baking classes.”
First off, girls can easily be pirates nowadays -- there were real women pirates, after all. (Ever heard of Anne Bonny?) But it's impossible for a boy to be a princess. War on men?
As for the other concerns, perhaps the boys and girls chose football or cooking days and the icing colors.
If the author just wants to make sure that boys can choose to be princesses and girls can choose blue icing, fine. But that doesn't appear to be the case, considering she included a quote from Feminism is for Everybody:
“Despite the economic gains of individual feminist women, many women who have amassed wealth or accepted the contribution of wealthy males, who are our allies in struggle, we have created no schools founded on feminist principles for girls and boys, for women and men. By failing to create a mass-based educational movement to teach everyone about feminism we allow mainstream patriarchal mass media to remain the primary place where folks learn about feminism, and most of what they learn is negative.”
Granted, the book is from 2000, but “struggle”? If different-colored icing is the worst thing for young girls, the feminist movement is starting to sound like #firstworldproblems.
And the author of the Pandagon post isn't alone her vision of a feminist curriculum. Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman wrote in March that a better way to boost girls' self-esteem (besides banning the word “bossy”) would be to teach feminism in schools.
“Give the little girls Roald Dahl's Matilda and Kay Thompson's Eloise,” Freeman said. “Start the teenagers off with Gail Collins' When Everything Changed, so they can get excited about all the cool women in the 20th century who made the world what it is today.”
That seems pretty tame, although Glosswitch might be offended at the idea of giving different books to boys and girls. But then Freeman takes a turn for the radical, suggesting classrooms include “seminal, smart and angry texts such as Backlash by Susan Faludi and Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth.”
“They'll soon learn that not only is feminism more than just hairy armpits and radicalism, but that hairy armpits and radicalism are awesome,” Freeman said.
I can imagine it now: Little girls taught that when they grow up they'll be paid 77 cents to the dollar their male counterparts earn, taught that abortion can solve all their problems, taught that free birth control is a right and that anyone who says otherwise is a misogynist and waging a “war on women.”
Teach them to be victims before they ever have a chance to see otherwise. Oh, and then watch Democrats continue to promise that government will fix everything if only they’re put in charge.